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by Chris Teale October 18, 2017 at 11:40 am 0

A passing truck spilled asphalt onto Lorcom Lane in Cherrydale earlier this morning, prompting a cleanup and causing some delays.

According to scanner traffic, the truck dropped the asphalt just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Traffic slowed on Lorcom Lane’s eastbound lane at Nelly Custis Drive, near the Cherrydale United Methodist Church, as officers from the Arlington County Police Department cleared the debris onto a nearby sidewalk.

Police put flares out to alert drivers to the material in the road, but did not close any roads. Traffic continued to flow normally heading west.

By 10:15 a.m., police had cleared the asphalt from the street and removed the flares.

by Chris Teale September 26, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike should start seeing changes soon to the busy and confusing “Five Points Intersection” in Cherrydale.

Crews are currently digging up areas of the intersection of Lee Highway, Military Road, Old Dominion Drive, N. Quincy Street and N. Quebec Street.

They will upgrade traffic signals, add bike lanes, improve crosswalks and transit stops, widen sidewalks and add new ADA-accessible curb ramps. The intersection also will get new concrete curbs and gutters, sidewalks, driveways, asphalt pavement and street lighting.

Already, several medians around the intersection have been widened, while work is underway to dig up the corner of Lee Highway and Military Road.

During construction, those in the area can expect the following work hours and construction impacts, per a county press release:

  • Work hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the project area along N. Quincy Street).
  • Construction crews typically will close one travel lane adjacent to the work area with drums/cones while maintaining one lane of traffic in each direction.
  • All businesses located within the project area will remain open.
  • Sidewalk detours and temporary crosswalks will be used to maintain pedestrian access throughout the project area.
  • Several bus stops will be temporarily relocated during construction. Notices will be posted in advance on bus stop flags, and will say where temporary bus stops will be located.

“Improving this busy intersection at the Lee Highway/Old Dominion Drive and N. Quincy Street/Military Road — a major transportation crossing for pedestrians, bikers, transit users and motorists — is part of the County’s larger effort to make the Cherrydale neighborhood safer and more accessible for all modes of travel,” said the county’s Director of Transportation Dennis Leach in a statement.

The work is expected to be completed next summer. County staff spent several years studying ways to improve safety for pedestrians and help simplify some dangerously complicated traffic patterns.

by ARLnow.com September 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

For at least the second time this year, fraudsters have installed credit card skimmers at a gas station in Cherrydale.

Police say a skimming device was found inside a gas pump on the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive yesterday afternoon, after customers of the gas station “reported fraudulent activity on their bank statements.”

The Arlington County Police Department is encouraging residents to take precautions when pumping gas, noting that new credit card skimmers are more sophisticated and “are undetectable without opening the pumps.”

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department is warning the public about skimming devices used to steal banking and personal information.

At approximately 2:50 p.m. on Monday, September 18, police were dispatched to a gas station in the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive for the report of a credit card skimming device located inside a gas pump. Citizens having used this location have reported fraudulent activity on their bank statements. Police are encouraging anyone who has used this gas station to review their bank statements for any fraudulent activity. If fraudulent activity is located, report to police by calling the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222 or file an online police report.

Citizens can take the following crime prevention steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:

  • Skimming devices have become more sophisticated. In most cases, the skimmers are being placed inside the machine and are undetectable without opening the pumps.
  • Pay inside at the gas station, rather than at the pump.
  • Always pay using a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
  • If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
  • Consider purchasing a refillable prepaid card to purchase gas at the pumps.
  • If you have not already switched to a chip reader on your credit card, do so.
  • Regularly check your bank statements and if you notice fraudulent activity, notify the bank so they can begin an investigation.

Criminals will use a variety of different scams and the Arlington County Police Department wants the public to remain alert so you don’t become a victim. Individuals seeking more information about fraud can visit our website or contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at [email protected] .

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com August 31, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A young man and a boy were arrested in Ballston Wednesday afternoon and charged with stealing items from cars in the Cherrydale neighborhood.

Police say they were called to the intersection of N. Taylor Street and 18th Street N. in Cherrydale just after 4 p.m. for a report of a car break-in and theft that had just happened. Officers found five cars had been broken into and valuables stolen.

The suspects were then spotted fleeing towards Ballston.

“A responding officer witnessed three suspects matching the description fleeing towards the Metro and broadcast a lookout,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“Officers responded to the Metro station and observed two of the suspects. Following a brief foot pursuit, one juvenile suspect was taken into custody by officers,” the crime report continued. “A second suspect was also taken into custody by officers. Nathan Outlaw, 19, of Washington, DC, was arrested and charged with three counts of Credit Card Theft. Additional charges are anticipated.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm 0

Updated at 6:20 p.m. — A dog that authorities initially feared had died of rabies, potentially exposing the deadly disease to pets and people who visited a Cherrydale veterinary office, was not rabid according to the Centers for Disease Control. In a press release (below) the county says anyone who started rabies vaccinations should stop.

The Washington, D.C. Department of Health (DOH) learned today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCC) that a bulldog that initially tested positive for rabies was in fact NOT rabid. The update came after public health officials in the District of Columbia and in Arlington already had alerted the public and reached out to those who may have come in contact with the dog.

“Once the initial rabies test was positive, we had to act quickly to inform the public and to begin treatment of anyone exposed. Rabies, left untreated, is fatal. We are relieved that the CDC test confirmed that the bulldog, was not, in fact, rabid and that the public was not at risk.”

After conducting its own test of the dog, DOH sent the test sample to the CDC for confirmation, a routine step when there are questions about the results. In this case, the dog had been vaccinated for rabies and was not known to have had exposure to the deadly disease. The CDC results were NEGATIVE. The dog did not have rabies.

Anyone who began rabies vaccinations based on the initial test results is NOT AT RISK of rabies and should stop the vaccination series. It will not cause harm to stop the series.

Arlington residents who have questions should call (703) 228-5200 Option #1 and ask for the Nurse of the Day during business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) After hours call, (703) 228-5645 and leave a message with your name and phone number and your call will be returned within 2 hours.

Earlier: Arlington County’s health department is trying to find those who might have had contact with a bulldog that has died of rabies.

The bulldog was brought to the Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic (4038 Lee Hwy) the morning of Saturday, July 8 and the afternoon of Friday, July 14, the county said in a press release. The county has been working with the clinic to identify and get in touch with those who might have had physical contact with the dog.

(more…)

by Chris Teale July 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Construction crews have demolished the Cherry Hill Apartments just off Lee Highway, and a new four-story building is set to replace it.

The three-story garden apartments at 2110-2120 N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale have been razed, as well as two single-family homes next door. The former building had 77 units and was built in 1961 near a Safeway grocery store.

Building permits filed with the county indicate that 79 trees have also been removed from the site. Currently, diggers are removing any remaining walls and buildings from the property ahead of clearing the ground.

In its place, property owner Dittmar will build a four-story apartment building with 93 units as a by-right development, meaning it does not require Arlington County Board approval.

Material advertising the former apartments touted them as a “quiet, garden style community” with direct bus service to the Rosslyn Metro station.

by Chris Teale June 6, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A 7-Eleven on Lee Highway in Cherrydale will close by the end of the month, and local residents are concerned for the future of other business nearby.

Multiple anonymous tipsters said they heard the 7-Eleven at 3901 Lee Highway will close. One said the new landlord is refusing to sign a new lease with the convenience store. Former landlord Kostas Kapasouris sold the properties earlier this year, and confirmed in an interview Tuesday morning that the 7-Eleven will close by the end of June.

County property records indicate that Naqibullah M. Ismail bought the shopping plaza and the stores across N. Pollard Street from it in February. The plaza sold for $3 million, according to those records. Ismail, an Arlington resident whose LinkedIn page says he is the CEO of an Afghanistan-based contractor to the Dept. of Defense, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kapasouris also owned the buildings that housed Billy’s Cheesesteaks, Bistro 29 on one side, and the former Drug Fair building, which houses Sun & Moon Yoga, Sterling Frames, Company Flowers and almost housed the NOVA Firearms gun store until its lease was cancelled in 2015. He said the other stores should “hopefully” stay open for the foreseeable future.

Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, said that while all he has heard is “second hand or rumor” around the stores’ future, he hopes any possible redevelopment plans are consistent with previous guidelines approved for the area.

“Whatever happens, we hope that any redevelopment that might be coming follows the design guidelines set out in the Cherrydale Revitalization Plan and the Cherrydale Neighborhood Conservation Plan, and promotes the vision for the future of Lee Highway set out by the Lee Highway Alliance,” Todd said. “We also want to express our support for and continue to work with Kostas and all our locally-owned Cherrydale businesses.”

7-Eleven media relations staff did not respond to requests for comment.

by ARLnow.com May 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

It’s an ongoing problem: thieves using “skimmer” devices to steal credit and debit card information from unsuspecting customers of local businesses.

Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood appears to be the latest target of the skimmer scammers.

Reports a resident:

Maywood listserv lighting up with reports of multiple people getting their credit cards skimmed recently. Most people point to common thread of Liberty Gas station on Lee Highway (and a few other likely places in the area) as common thread. But that is not 100% clear.

In most cases, someone buys gas here. Later someone tries to purchase gas in California. Per Cherrydale listserv earlier, it looks like Arlington Police already found a “skimmer” machine earlier at Exxon across the street, but these are new reports from another potential location.

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed at least a portion of the neighborhood scuttlebutt.

Here’s what she said via email to ARLnow.com:

Our Financial Crimes Unit received reports of possible credit card skimming at the Liberty Gas station. They responded to the area and during their investigation did not identify a point of compromise at this location. On March 9 at approximately 1:57 p.m., police responded to the Exxon gas station in the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive for the report of a recovered credit card skimmer. That investigation is ongoing.

These type of cases are typically reported to police as credit card fraud and since we use credit cards for almost all purchases (online, in person, groceries, gas, etc.) the challenge is identifying the point of compromise. Turnaround time from point of compromise to first fraudulent use varies depending on how the suspects intend to use the stolen data. Police work closely with banking institutes who notify us when there is a trend with customers cards being compromised and they identify the location all the cards have in common.

There are some things citizens can do to protect themselves:

  • You will not know if a gas pump has a skimmers. In most cases, the skimmers are being placed inside the machine.
  • Pay inside at the gas station rather than at the pump.
  • Always pay using credit rather than debit – it’s easier to dispute the charges and isn’t linked directly to your bank account.
  • If you haven’t switched to a chip reader on your credit card, do so.
  • Regularly check your bank statements and if you notice fraudulent activity, notify the bank so they can begin an investigation.
  • If you find you were the victim of fraud, file a police report.

Photo via Google Maps

by Chris Teale May 5, 2017 at 9:55 am 0

Saved from closure by a new owner, House of Steep on Lee Highway is now in the process of adding new ways for its customers to relax.

The Cherrydale business at 3800 Lee Highway had been set to close late last year, after founder and previous owner Lyndsey DePalma suggested it was not making enough money.

But it was bought by long-time customer Patrick Vaughan and reopened in January, and now Vaughan is looking to bring some new ideas.

The tea house and “foot sanctuary” will soon offer wine to customers, after filing a license application with Virginia ABC. Vaughan said that new innovation could help turn House of Steep into more of a wine bar in the evenings.

“I envision people having a glass of wine while doing a sit and soak essentially, or getting a foot massage,” he said. “The theme of the place is relaxation, so to me I know a lot of people consider a glass of wine at the end of the day the ultimate relaxation.”

Vaughan said he also hopes to expand walk-in availability for House of Steep’s reflexology and massage services. Previously, he said, customers would have to schedule an appointment 24 hours in advance, but Vaughan said he wants to have a system where people can be seen straight away or an hour or two later.

House of Steep’s community outreach is also set to be expanded. Vaughan, a trail and ultra-marathon runner, said he has already partnered with the charity D.C. Capital Striders to host a weekly run from the store. He has other plans too.

“We’ve been proactively inviting community groups to host their meetings in the space or holding wellness seminars or doing open mic nights,” Vaughan said. “We’re definitely trying to create a little bit more of a community environment space for people to use throughout the day and evening.”

by Chris Teale April 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The busy and confusing “Five Points Intersection” in Cherrydale is set for an overhaul after the County Board awarded a construction contract Saturday.

Board members unanimously awarded a contract worth just under $1.7 million to A&M Concrete Corporation to improve the streetscape at the intersection of Lee Highway, Military Road, Old Dominion Drive, N. Quincy Street and N. Quebec Street.

The revamped intersection will include upgraded traffic signals, new bike lanes, improvements to crosswalks and transit stops, widened sidewalks and new ADA-accessible curb ramps. It also includes construction of new concrete curbs and gutters, sidewalks, driveways, asphalt pavement and street lighting.

In 2013, the Cherrydale Citizens Association expressed opposition to proposed changes, arguing some aspects created more danger for motorists.

But after some tweaks, the association’s fears appear to have been taken into account. The association’s newsletter expressed hope that the changes would make things better for all road users.

County staff has been exploring improvements at the intersection for several years to improve safety for pedestrians and help simplify some dangerously complicated traffic patterns.

A&M’s original bid of $1.4 million for the contact was the lowest of four submitted. A contingency of $280,000 has been added to take into account any cost overruns.

by Chris Teale March 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The Stratford School building in Cherrydale will expand as it transitions to a middle school.

The County Board unanimously approved a plan Saturday to add 40,000 square feet to the school, which currently houses the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. The addition will include a new library, an auxiliary gym, classrooms, science labs and other teaching spaces and a new student common area.

A design for the 1,000-seat middle school was first approved last year by the County Board.

Also in 2016, the County Board designated the school as a local historic district. In 1959, when Stratford was previously a middle school, it was the first Virginia public school to be integrated.

“This plan ensures that Stratford School building, perhaps Arlington’s most significant local historic designation so far, will be preserved — and will be adapted to serve the changing needs of our growing student population,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said. “We have to meet our county’s current needs while remembering and honoring the important role Stratford played in 1959, when it became the first public school in the commonwealth to be integrated.”

Ben Bergen, assistant director of design and construction for schools, said Superintendent Patrick Murphy has formed a group to discuss an “interpretive experience” to recognize the school’s history.

The school’s athletic field will be re-graded and rebuilt. Arlington Public Schools staff agreed to try redesigning the field to meet Ultimate Frisbee requirements, as in current plans it is too short for that sport. H-B Woodlawn currently offers an Ultimate Frisbee program for its students.

The H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs are set relocate to the redeveloping Wilson School site in Rosslyn, starting in 2019.

Bergen said construction should begin early next year, with the major work being done in the summers of 2018 and 2019. H-B Woodlawn students will stay in the building during construction, while the Stratford program will move into temporary buildings.

School Board chairwoman Nancy Van Doren said once finished, the new Stratford School will be a facility everyone can be proud of.

“We broke so many new boundaries with this, and I think we’re going to end up with a fabulous, fabulous project,” she said.

by ARLnow.com March 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Arlington police carA Cherrydale resident brandished a gun and threatened two maintenance workers who knocked on his door yesterday morning, according to Arlington County police.

The incident drew a big police response at the Horizons apartments (4300 Old Dominion Drive) around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The maintenance workers reportedly ran away after the gun was drawn and nobody was hurt.

More from an ACPD crime report:

BRANDISHING A FIREARM, 2017-03150073, 4300 block of Old Dominion Drive. At approximately 10:30 a.m. on March 15, officers responded to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that a building’s management notified residents that routine maintenance would be conducted in the building. When two maintenance workers knocked on a male subject’s door, the subject answered while brandishing a firearm and threatening the victims. The victims then fled the scene and contacted police. Gin Chan, 71, of Arlington Va, was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm.

by Tim Regan January 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A fan of Cherrydale’s House of Steep is buying the business to keep it from closing.

Lyndsey DePalma, who founded the tea house and “foot sanctuary”at 3800 Lee Highway, announced last month she planned to close the business and “lovingly serve our last cup of tea” by Dec. 30.

Though the business did close its doors last weekend, it’s only temporary thanks to longtime House of Steep customer and Arlington business owner Patrick Vaughan.

Vaughan, a regular runner of ultramarathons, said he was in the middle of a reflexology and foot massage session when he heard that the store was slated to shutter.

“I was really saddened when I heard it was going to close,” he recalled.

Then, he had an idea: Why not see if he could buy the business to keep it afloat? So, Vaughan called up DePalma, and within just 12 hours, they shook hands on a deal.

“I’ve wanted to get into a health and bodywork kind of business for a long time,” Vaughan said. “It just clicked for me. It just really made sense.”

For DePalma, the sale represents a kind of “fairytale ending.”

“I think he’s willing to take his ideas the distance,” she said. “He seems very passionate to begin with and willing to follow through.”

Although Vaughan said he doesn’t want to change the company’s atmosphere or culture, he does plan to add some new offerings and services to the menu.

“I’d like to be able to get beyond foot massage into full-body massage,” said Vaughan, who also owns a local information technology business. “I’m definitely looking to expand the techniques of massage offerings.”

House of Steep is scheduled to reopen Jan. 9.

by Katie Pyzyk December 29, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

Police car (file photo)Police are investigating a reported armed robbery that prompted a lot of law enforcement activity in the Cherrydale neighborhood early Wednesday morning.

Arlington County police officers responded to the 1500 block of N. Quincy Street around 12:30 a.m. after two male suspects reportedly approached three victims who had been walking in the area.

One of the suspects brandished a gun and demanded the victims’ belongings, according to police.

Police say the suspects took off on foot so they brought in an ACPD K-9 unit to track them. Fairfax County Police assisted with the search by sending a helicopter.

The suspects were not apprehended and the investigation is ongoing. From an ACPD crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 1500 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 12:25 a.m. on December 28, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery. Three victims were walking in the area when they were approached from behind by two male suspects. One of the suspects brandished a firearm and demanded the victims’ belongings. The suspects then fled the scene on foot in an unknown direction. A K9 track and an aerial observation assisted by Fairfax County Police helicopter were negative. The first suspect is described as a black male approximately 6’0″ tall, wearing all black with a black bandana over his face. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’5″ tall, with a slim build. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. The investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com December 9, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

(Updated at 3 p.m.) Arlington County is moving forward with construction plans for Stratford Park.

The 3.8 acre park, at 4321 Old Dominion Drive, is located next to the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program building, which will later become a 1,000 seat middle school when H-B moves to Rosslyn in 2019.

The current park has picnic tables, a youth baseball/softball field (which has also been used by adult team sports), two lighted tennis courts, a rectangular field and a lighted basketball court.

The new park, which is in the final design stages and is expected to go out to bid in the first quarter of 2017, will include upgraded fields, courts, landscaping and site furnishings.

Among the planned changes: the new diamond field will be fenced in, with dugouts, batting cages and bleachers added.

While the fence around a soon-to-be-upgraded diamond field in Bluemont Park prompted a neighborhood outcry this fall, since largely resolved by removing portions of the fence, thus far there has been little public protest about the Stratford Park fence.

Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said the field’s primary purpose will be to host organized baseball and softball activities, though other uses will be allowed when the field is not otherwise being used.

“The approved plan does include fence around the diamond field, as the field will primarily be used for diamond sports (permit takes priority),” she told ARLnow.com, via email. “The fence entrances will always be open to allow people access to the area when the field is not in use.”

The parks department sent an email to residents who live near the park last month, updating them on the project’s progress. An excerpt of that email, detailing some of the changes, is below.

Construction of the park upgrades is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017 and wrap up within the first three months of 2018. The overall design, management and construction budget is $1.7 million.

In early 2015, the County worked with the community to develop a  concept  plan for the site. The  concept plan is a tool to inform the County, APS and the community on how new school access routes and other changes to the school site within the park boundary could impact the plan for park improvements.  DPR worked closely with APS in order to coordinate pedestrian accessibility from the park to the school. In addition, a restroom facility will be provided at the school for park users. DPR may make some minor changes to the concept as final costs for the improvements are determined in order to ensure the project remains within budget.

The approved project scope includes replacing and bringing existing features to current standards and adding new amenities to the park. Below is a breakdown of each one.

Existing to be Replaced:

  • Tennis Courts
  • Basketball Court
  • Court Lighting
  • Diamond Field
  • Backstop
  • Players Benches
  • Parking
  • Fencing (split rail)
  • Stairs and Walkways
  • Seating
  • Trash Receptacles
  • Trees and Shrubs

New to the Park:

  • Drinking Fountain
  • Pedestrian Lighting
  • Dugouts
  • Batting Cages
  • Bleachers
  • Outfield Fence
  • Retaining Walls
  • 50/70 Intermediate (50/70) Diamond Field Layout with Irrigation
  • Additional Trash Receptacles and Seating
  • Picnic Area
  • Storm Water Management Facility
  • Additional Landscaping
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